X-Rays: Are They Safe For Children?

X-rays are taken for prevention, diagnostic, and treatment purposes. Routine x-rays are taken of your child’s mouth to look for oral health problems that cannot be seen with the naked eye. By taking a high-definition image of your child’s teeth, we can see the position of your child’s teeth, beneath the teeth, and the gums. 

Read on in this blog from South OC Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics to find out how we take pediatric x-rays safely and conservatively.

Why Does My Child Need an X-Ray?

An x-ray will show if your child has tooth decay or interproximal cavities (cavities between the teeth) and how severe this decay is. We can see if the decay is isolated within the upper layers of the tooth or if it’s penetrated the dental pulp, which would suggest a tooth infection.

X-rays are a safe and important preventative dental tool that helps us detect oral health problems early for proper diagnosis and treatment before oral health problems worsen. Oftentimes thanks to early detection with x-rays we’re able to reverse conditions like tooth decay and gum disease before they do significant damage. 

X-rays may also be taken to plan orthodontic treatment, to look for the position of wisdom teeth, to detect the eruption of permanent teeth, or identify bone loss.

Safety Precautions at South OC Pediatric Dentistry

We only use digital x-rays at our dental office because they emit 80% less radiation than traditional x-rays while delivering instant high-definition images of your child’s mouth directly to our computer without any waiting time. Digital x-rays are very safe and precise.

If there is ever a risk of exposing your child to excessive radiation, we can provide them with protective gear such as lead aprons that will limit their exposure. We also believe in a conservative approach to dentistry which is why we will never use x-rays outside of what is necessary to maintain your child’s oral and overall health. 

Excessive use of x-rays is not something you need to worry about at our dental office. While children need x-rays more often than adults because of their heightened risk for cavities, this will be weighed against your child’s overall health risks when it comes to radiation exposure. If x-rays were recently taken, we may opt to avoid taking additional x-rays until it is necessary.

Dental X-rays Are Safe for Your Children

Modern digital x-rays are very safe and while they do involve exposure to a small amount of radiation, modern equipment blocks out the majority of radiation and concentrates it to the specific area that is being examined. 

With levels of radiation that are 80 to 90% lower than older film x-rays, the radiation in a single tooth x-ray is less than you would be exposed to on a short 1 to 2-hour commercial flight and is just slightly higher than the radiation emitted from eating a banana. 

We are constantly being exposed to background radiation throughout our daily lives and this is often much higher than the radiation emitted from dental x-rays. X-rays are also only taken intermittently and only as often as is necessary. 

Your child may not need an x-ray every time they go to the dentist. Only children with a disproportionately high cavity risk may have x-rays taken every 6 months but children with a normal oral health risk would not need them as often.

Safe Dental X-Rays Are an Important Part of Preventative Dentistry

At South OC Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, we use x-rays to keep your child in good oral health through prevention and early detection. Issues such as tooth decay and gum disease can cause serious issues such as tooth loss, irreversible bone loss, and changes to your child’s facial structure. 

By using x-rays in moderation, we can preserve the health of your child’s teeth and gums and effectively reduce the need for costly and invasive dental intervention. Contact us at South xfOC Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics today to schedule a preventative appointment with Dr. John Delorme.

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